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July 18, 2019
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
The 2008-09 NHL season kicked off in earnest Thursday night, with the filthy Detroit Red Wings raising their Stanley Cup banner before the Motor City’s unwashed masses. The league certainly did what it could to make it a happy homecoming, scheduling the Toronto Maple Leafs as the opening-night patsy. The Little Sisters of the Poor were busy.
Ah, but those lowly Leafs did us all proud on this night. Ron Wilson’s boys watched the Wings raise the Stanley Cup banner, and then they went out and whipped the chumps on Joe Louis ice. Toronto got goals from Pavel Kubina, Dominic Moore, and rookie Nikolai Kulemin to down the filthy Wings, 3-2.
And “(Sunshine) Detroit!” rang from the heavens.
After the game, Marian Hossa announced he’d be leaving the Red Wings to join the Maple Leafs, citing his increased chances of winning a Stanley Cup. Tough break, Wings fans.
In case anyone forgot over the summer, Chris Osgood reminded everyone just how much he sucks, literally handing the Maple Leafs the first goal of the season.
Toronto was on the power play in the last minute of the opening frame when Osgood decided to sweep he puck away from a scrum at the side of his cage. Osgood being Osgood, he didn’t push the puck behind the net, electing instead to pull it right into the slot. Kubina was pinching on the play and snapped Osgood’s gift into the twine for the 1-0 lead.
Seriously, at what point in Osgood’s infuriatingly successful 15-year career did he learn to one-hand the puck in front of his own net on the penalty kill? Because that’s genius. Well done, sir. Osgood is so bad, he’s terrible.
Toronto made it 2-0 at 15:04 of the second. Alex Steen did some nice work out of the corner to free the puck to Jonas Frogren at the right point. Frogren’s shot clipped a Detroit defender on the way to the net and rattled around in front. Moore eventually found the biscuit and lifted it over a prone Osgood to stun the Detroit faithful. The once raucous arena was as quiet as a library… if, you know, there were any libraries in Detroit. Well, I think they used to have one, but then they lost the book.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long. Tomas Holmstrom got the Wings on the board 1:24 later, knocking down a Brad Stuart point shot and backhanding the puck between his own legs past Vesa Toskala. .
Even though they were down 2-1 entering the third, the filthy Wings seemed poised to rally. After all, they had the momentum, they had the sellout crowd, and they had the Stanley Cup. Fortunately for me, they also had Dan Cleary.
Good ol’ Dan coughed up the puck in the neutral zone, floating a cross-ice pass right to a streaking Kulemin. The 22-year-old Magnitogorsk native blew behind the defense and turned Osgood out. Backhand, forehand, bang. I’m going to name my first born Kulemin. And whatever we find in little Kulemin’s diaper, we’ll call Osgood.
Holmstrom pulled the Wings to within 3-2 with a power-play tally at 9:20 of the third. He once again dominated the front of the cage, fighting for space and wrapping home a rebound.
Detroit pushed for the tying goal but couldn’t get anything else behind Toskala, who stopped 35. And, yes, there was much rejoicing.
Keep in mind, the Maple Leafs are awful. They’ve basically said they want to tank it the next few years to stockpile draft picks. Yet the Wings lost to them. On home ice. On the night they raised the banner.
Life is good.
Of course, once the whistle blew, Detroit’s Duchess of Douche couldn’t let well enough alone. Instead of just skating to the bench, Maltby took a stride towards Blake and gave him a real manly shove in way of intimidation.
Ooh, you’re so tough, Kirk. Way to pick on the 5’9” cancer survivor. Maltby’s real brave when the guy he’s shoving is wee tiny. And even then, he keeps his gloves glued on and his visor tight.
The only thing better than splintering Maltby’s weasel skull with my bare hands would be beating him into a bloody pulp with the lifeless corpse of Marian Hossa.
Um, yeah. They’re not even one of the best bands named after a hearing-impaired animal.
When the lead singer came on stage, my first thought was, “Wow, Ozzy Osbourne has really let himself go.” Dude, Def Leppard sucked 20 years ago. And they didn’t age well.
Who were the people in the crowd actually cheering this shameful display? If you’re at a Def Leppard concert, and you’re not drugged and duct taped to a chair, you seriously need to reevaluate the choices you’ve made in life.
At one point, Darren McCarty rode a motorcycle on stage with the Stanley Cup because, you know, McCarty is cool. So the lead singer picks up the Cup, no doubt bursting the seams on his truss, and walks it to the side of the stage, where he proceeds to stand the Cup upside down.
That’s right, he put the Cup down bowl first. Yes, sir, Def Leppard sure are hockey fans. I guess Hall and Oates were booked.
Lemme tell ya, the Canucks looked awesome. Burrows and Ryan Kesler were all over the place, and Mattias Ohlund was a beast, dishing out five hits to go along with a goal, an assist, and a plus-3.
And some dude named Rick Rypien scored a real swank shorthanded goal, busting around the Calgary defense and piping a wrister over Miikka Kiprusoff’s glove. Who in the blue hell is Rick Rypien?
Maybe it was the emotion of the Luc Bourdon tribute, but the Canucks were flying. They’re wicked fast. If they keep skating like that, offense won’t be a problem.
I was more impressed, though, with their toughness. Once the score got out of hand, the Flames tried to make things chippy, and the Canucks met them hit for hit. Adding Shane O’Brien was brilliant. Vancouver just seems to have a whole new attitude.
Towards the end of the game, Dion Phaneuf lit Daniel Sedin with a gorgeous open-ice hip check. Steve Bernier wasted no time in dropping the gloves. A few minutes before that, Daymond Langkow took a swipe at Luongo, and Jannik Hansen came in throwing. It was team toughness at its finest.
I know I picked Vancouver to miss the playoffs, and it seems everyone is down on them this year, but I tell you what… I liked what I saw. I liked it a lot. Keep an eye on those Canucks.